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Running the Gauntlet, Part IV: Merlin the Wizard

Updated on July 6, 2016
Merlin is ready to demonstrate his arcane skill and prowess.
Merlin is ready to demonstrate his arcane skill and prowess.

Disclaimer: The information in this article was originally written for Arrowhead Studio's original version of the Gauntlet reboot, now under the name Gauntlet: Slayer Edition. Most of the information here still applies to Merlin as far as abilities and tactics are concerned, but some information no longer applies, such as the abilities given out by Masteries. In addition, there is information missing about the new equipment system, where equipping Merlin with different spellbooks will change his elemental loadout, giving players even more spells to choose from and experiment with - in addition to giving more depth to an already complex character.

Meet the Real Wizard

Hello there friends, and welcome to Running the Gauntlet, Part IV, where I'll be taking a look at Merlin, the expert spellcaster and powerful Wizard. For those who are fine with supporting the team and assaulting monsters with a library of arcane might, this would be the Hero for you. However, be wary as even though Wizard wields powerful magic he takes more damage and dies easier than the others. I've not used the Wizard an awful lot, and so my knowledge on how to utilize him best is somewhat lacking. Nevertheless, I'll at least leave you with some information on his various spells, how they work, and some tactics I've tried myself and seen other Wizards online use. With that being said, let's not waste anymore time and get right into things.

Controlling the Wizard

Merlin is thus far the character that controls the most different from the others. Instead of following suit with the others and having a weak attack, strong attack, and some kind of third or fourth ability Merlin accesses his different powers by conjuring one of three elements in any combination of two: Fire, Ice, or Lightning. Similar to the other Heroes, I prefer using the Controller, though due to the fact that you can rebind keys on the Keyboard & Mouse I have admittedly given thought to experimenting with different control configurations and seeing what I come up with. And again, if you're using the Keyboard & Mouse you'll be using a target reticle to point Merlin in the direction you wish to shoot in.

The controls for Merlin revolve mainly around conjuring those different Elements, and the controls on Keyboard & Mouse are as follows: WASD controls Merlin's movement, Shift conjures Ice, Spacebar conjures Fire, Right Click conjures Lightning, Left Click to Cast Spell, Q and E to use Relics if you have Potions, and F to interact with the game world. On an Xbox 360 Controller, the commands are as follows: X to conjure Ice, Y to conjure Fire, and B to conjure Lightning, pointing the Right Thumbstick in the direction you wish to shoot Casts Spells, Left Thumbstick to move, Left and Right Bumpers use Relics, and A interacts with the game world.

If the whole idea of conjuring spells and combinations still sounds a little confusing have no fear, as in the next segment we'll be looking at Merlin's Fire, Ice, and Lightning Spells individually so you can get well informed on his different spells and what they do exactly.

Turning Up the Heat

Merlin literally opens fire.
Merlin literally opens fire.

As mentioned before, Merlin accesses his multiple abilities and powers by conjuring elements in combinations of two. The first element you conjure dictates the element that the Spell will be, while the second element you conjure will change what kind of spell you will cast of that element. So for instance, conjuring Fire first gives the Fire element, and then conjuring Lightning will give you the Molten Fire Ball spell. When you conjure, you have to be quick with your button presses or it won't work. Also when you conjure, element icons will appear beneath Merlin so you know what elements you're putting together. That being said, let's get down to casting Fire spells.

Fire/Fire (Space/Space or Y/Y): Fireball
This is Merlin's basic attack, and whenever you start the game, this will be the default spell he starts with. To get it back, simply conjure Fire/Fire (So Space/Space or Y/Y). This spell is pretty powerful, downing your basic Mummies and Skeletons with one shot, and knocking out even Corrupted Mummies can only take three shots before going down. There is a split second cooldown period, but in the heat of battle it's bearable.

Fire/Lightning (Space/Right Mouse or Y/B): Molten Fireball
A very useful spell where Merlin generates a huge blast of fire and lobs it in the air, and once it comes crashing down it explodes, dealing massive damage to anything caught in the blast. A personal favorite of mine to use against Summoning Stones, especially when I'm running Solo and have got the monsters managed and I simply just keep lobbing Molten Fireballs and blasting the new coming monsters, occasionally switching back to the Fireball to deal with monsters that have escaped. This spell can also go over obstacles as well, making it useful to assault foes who are on the other side of say, a fence (see the first Colosseum level). There is a moderate cooldown time with this, but it isn't too hard to deal with.

Fire/Ice (Space/Shift or Y/X): Flaming Serpents
Merlin's signature Dashing/Rush move, the Flaming Serpents. This is such a neat power where Merlin becomes two twin balls of fire that travels a short distance and then reforms into Merlin. Anything in its path? Catches on fire and will most likely die a slow burning death (though the really tough foes will be able to shrug it off). Like with Thor's Rush or Thyra's Spear Thrust this is a great way to bowl over foes in your path (Though Flaming Serpents doesn't knock them out of the way) while dealing damage and also getting to a more advantageous position. The one drawback? It takes a good few seconds to cooldown. By achieving the Flamewalker Mastery (done so by killing monsters with Fire spells) you can reduce the cooldown on this spell.

Make them Frozen Today!

Merlin targets the Mummies fortunate enough to not get iced with a Freezing Wave.
Merlin targets the Mummies fortunate enough to not get iced with a Freezing Wave.

Merlin's Ice spells may not be built for doing massive damage, but they're very useful nonetheless be you on a team or in a solo run. These Ice spells are great for slowing down and even temporarily stopping monsters, giving you the few seconds you need to deal with monsters on your own or slowing down or stopping monsters so other Heroes can better lay into them.

Ice/Ice (Shift/Shift or X/X): Ice Beam
An interesting spell that ices over foes (that is, they aren't frozen, but they do turn blue and move slower) and does minimal damage, and while Merlin is using it he's immobile, though he can move the direction the Ice Beam is in. However, the longer the Ice Beam is in use the stronger it gets, eventually getting to the point where you can kill monsters in seconds. One tactic I'll see in multiplayer games is using the Ice Blast to slow monsters and then follow up with the Ice Beam, targeting the Summoning Stone while his other allies distract the monsters. Like the other spells, there is some cooldown time, but not as much as with other spells.

Ice/Lightning (Shift/Right Mouse or X/B): Ice Blast
The Ice Blast is an essential spell to know how to use when taking on large groups of foes, be it a large train of monsters or targeting a Summoning Stone to ice over foes as they spawn. When uses, Merlin is immobile for a quick second as he shoots an ice ball that flies over a few feet and then explodes, loosening a chilled area that any monster entering gets chilled from. The Ice Blast does dissipate after a couple minutes, but the few seconds that are gained by chilled monsters more than makes up for it. The main downside is the cooldown time.

Ice/Fire (Shift/Space or X/Y): Freezing Wave
Freezing Wave is a useful spell where the Wizard shoots out a blast of ice that instantly Freezes any monsters caught in it for a few seconds. While it isn't as long lasting as the Ice Blast it's still useful when you need to get an immediate group of monsters Frozen that very second, or even if you just want to freeze parts of an unrelenting horde. This spell does have a cooldown time that lasts for a good few seconds as well. The Mastery Frostweaver will also reduce the cooldown time on this, and is given for killing monsters while they are Frozen or Chilled.

Merlin zaps some foes with Chain Lightning.
Merlin zaps some foes with Chain Lightning.

And finally, we come to the Lightning spells. While they all may not be heavy damage dealing powers, there's still some great stuff to use, from lighting that travels from foe to foe to shields from enemy attacks.

Lighting/Lightning (Right Mouse/Right Mouse or B/B): Lightning Shield
The Lighting Shield has Merlin conjure a sphere around him that protects from any monster attacks. However, the shield only lasts for a few seconds, and will dissipate faster if foes repeatedly attack it. However, it is a useful spell to cast when you want to safely cast some magic, such as the Ice Beam, Ice Blast, or even some Fireballs and Molten Fireballs. However, there is a few seconds' cooldown time with this spell which of course can be lowered by leveling up the Stormcaller Mastery, given for killing monsters with Lighting spells.

Lightning/Fire (Right Mouse/Space or B/Y): Lightning Blast
A spell that does moderate damage while knocking back foes, having a cool down time that's about as short as the Fireball spell. The radius isn't too incredibly large, and to be honest I hardly use this spell in combat, though I might just not have a good handle on how to effectively use it. I mainly just use it for blasting apart props.

Lightning/Ice (Right Mouse/Shift or B/X): Chain Lighting
A spell that I use time and again when the horde has vastly outnumbered me, the Chain Lighting has to be used when dangerously close to monsters but it has a chain reaction effect where the lightning continues on through the train of monsters, usually killing weaker foes with one shock. It also has a quick cooldown time, so you can continually use this spell time and again to beat back the hordes. Just watch for any monsters swinging for you while you're casting it. You can also hit Summoning Stones with the Chain Lighting as well, so keep that in mind.

Merlin conjures Lightning.
Merlin conjures Lightning.

So there's all of Merlin's spells and the elements needed to conjure them. Make sure you memorize the table below, which will have all the spells listed, as there's a quiz at the end of this article that will test your knowledge on these spells!

Spell Name
Conjure Combo
Command Combo
Effect
Fireball
Fire/Fire
Space/Space or Y/Y
Merlin shoots a basic Fireball
Molten Fire Ball
Fire/Lightning
Space/Right Mouse or Y/B
Merlin lobs a large Fireball that explodes when hitting the ground.
Flaming Serpents
Fire/Ice
Space/Shift or Y/X
Merlin transforms into two twin flames that travels a short distance and reforms into Merlin, damaging and setting fire to any foes in its path.
Ice Beam
Ice/Ice
Shift/Shift or X/X
Merlin stands his ground and shoots a continual Ice Beam that Chills foes and slowly gets stronger.
Ice Blast
Ice/Lightning
Shift/Right Mouse or X/B
Merlin shoots an ice ball that travels a short distance and explodes, creating a chilled area that will Chill any monsters inside it.
Freezing Wave
Ice/Fire
Shift/Space or X/Y
Merlin shoots a blast of ice that Freezes any monsters caught in it.
Lightning Shield
Lightning/Lightning
Right Mouse/Right Mouse or B/B
Merlin conjures a lightning orb around him that blocks foes and lasts for a few seconds.
Lightning Blast
Lighting/Fire
Right Mouse/Space or B/Y
Merlin shoots a quick blast of lighting that knocks back foes and deals moderate damage.
Chain Lightning
Lightning/Ice
Right Mouse/Shift or B/X
Merlin shoots lightning that will travel between nearby foes and deal damage.

Masteries

Merlin may be a real Wizard but he's got a long way to go.
Merlin may be a real Wizard but he's got a long way to go.

And just like all of the other characters, Merlin has his own Hero-specific Masteries, though due to his arcane nature he has one more than the others. And like with the others, anything after the first column in the image above is the same for all Heroes, so please refer to Part I for the complete list of Masteries. I'll be putting together a Mastery-Specific post in the nearfuture, but for the time being you'll have to reference Part I. Due to my inexperience with Merlin, I have work to do on his Masteries, and thus I do not know the Gold effect for any of these. For Accomplished Master and Frostweaver I only know the Bronze Level effects, and for Flamewalker and Stormcaller I only know the Silver Effects, but I'll have up the Gold Level requirement. And of course, I'll have tips that I've read or seen that helps with leveling these up.

Mastery Name
Requirement
Effect
Tips
Accomplished Master
Take 10,000 cumulative damage as the Wizard.
When you have not taken damage for 20 seconds - the next instance of damage towards you will be negated (Bronze Level).
As with the others, taking damage from traps and letting enemies rustle you about when food is near can be an easy way to rack up those damage points without dying repeatedly.
Flamewalker
Kill 8,000 monsters with Fire spells.
Reduces cooldown on Flaming Serpents by 10% (Silver Level)
With all fire spells dealing damage this Mastery will unlock on its own in due time. However attracting large hordes of foes and then blasting them might help make things pass faster.
Frostweaver
Kill 8,000 monsters while they are Frozen or Chilled.
Reduces cooldown on Freezing Wave by 5% (Bronze Level)
This one's a bit tricky, as the only Ice spell that actually can kill is the Ice Beam. That being said, constant use of Freezing Wave and Ice Blast can help keep monsters iced down to help rank this up.
Stormcaller
Kill 8,000 monsters with Lightning spells.
Reduces cooldown on Storm Barrier by 10% (Bronze Level).
I find that attracting large hordes of monsters and using the Chain Lightning repeatedly can help get this one up quickly. Especially since that is a one-hit kill with weaker monsters.

Before you check out Razzle Joestar's in-game demonstration of the Wizard, why not test your knowledge with this quiz to make sure you've got those spells and conjuring down? These are important things to master, as a Merlin who doesn't know his spells can hold back the team and frustrate fellow Heroes! This also brings us to the end of the four Heroes' specialized articles. There is still Lilith the Necromancer, but I have not purchased her yet, and therefore do not have any time spent at all on her, but she will have a look taken at her in the near future. As for the Running the Gauntlet series? Well, I still have a future post planned that will go over Masteries, and perhaps I may publish some other handy articles that provide tips and advice, maybe even walkthroughs, to aspiring Heroes. Until then, I bid thee farewell, and good luck in overcoming the trials! Perhaps I shall see you online sometime, fellow Hero!

Other Hubs in the Running the Gauntlet Series:

Running the Gauntlet, Part I: Questor the Elf
Running the Gauntlet, Part II: Thor the Warrior
Running the Gauntlet, Part III: Thyra the Valkyrie
Running the Gauntlet, Part IV: Merlin the Wizard (You are here!)

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